Inspirations from KMWorld 2014

I recently co-presented at a workshop during the KMWorld conference on ‘New ways of working: Culture change‘. Our message was that new ways of working might be calling for different approaches to improve adoption and facilitate culture change. We presented five playful, touchable, relatable or practical approaches that we used to promote new ways of working.


For example, we explained how using Lego © blocks might not be a bad idea to engage with your audience as well as how we used ‘seed bombs’ to leave concrete reminders on our colleagues’ desks with a call to action for them to also plant seeds of change.

I then attended the conference as a regular participant. Although the conference was not purely focused on the Digital Workplace / Intranet, I enjoyed my first KMWorld and found the conference very well organized with many networking opportunities.

Here are some of my take away.

‘Culture’ and ‘leadership’ still in the way

‘Culture’ and ‘leadership’ emerged in most sessions as the main barriers to user adoption to new ways of working.

One way to overcome these barriers is to find informal leaders you can engage with to change things. And contrary to common thinking, potential ‘leaders of change’ can be found everywhere, not only at the senior management level.

In this context, Stan Garfeld gave three very simple tips to promote adoption. I find them interesting because they imply a culture element as they touch upon changing the way performance management is handled:

  1. Give three simple goals that everyone can perform in your enterprise social network and consistently communicate about these goals (for example: “ask find share”)
  2. At individual level ask managers to monitor these three goals during the performance appraisal review.
  3. Openly recognize, praise, reward and promote those who demonstrate the desired behavior.

But overall, changing (or influencing) a culture is not an easy thing and takes time. Not everyone is social or a digital citizen. As mentioned a few times in our workshop, changing a culture often means changing ‘one human at a time’ and all credits go to Change Agents Worldwide.

Working out loud

It was great to hear Jon Husband talking about the future of organizations and how wirearchy will not replace hierarchy but influence it. So if you work in an organization that is still very hierarchical, there is hope to see changes coming your way 🙂

And you might start by being the change you want to see. Nothing prevents you to walk the talk right away. A few of my colleagues were also at KMWorld. We decided to preach what we believe and to work out loud during the conference by simultaneously capturing our findings in our enterprise social network for the benefit of all colleagues who could not join the conference. A very interesting experience, a seed of change.

As Jon Husband rightly quoted on twitter

Strategy days are over, let’s be pragmatic

It may sound a bit provocative (or unrealistic? tell me) but I feel that a consensus starts to emerge to be more pragmatic in our approaches to Knowledge Management (KM) or ways to implement a Digital Workplace, most probably influenced by the agile development methodology.

For KM, the conference highlighted the importance of not referring to KM as such, to avoid big KM strategies and to rather focus on solving small, achievable organizational challenges with KM solutions, showing their direct organizational impact and business benefits. My colleague Ian Thorpe wrote a good blog post about this on turning KM strategy on its head.

Intranet innovation coming from… 14 to 17 years old students!

It was both impressing and very refreshing to discover that the Platinum award winner of Step Two’s Intranet Innovation Award went to an Intranet developed by 14 to 17 years old students!

They won because they delivered a solution that was answering their needs (e.g. apps to manage their everyday life at the campus – what an Intranet is meant for) and because it was full of design thinking.

Now imagine the expectations of these young people when they’ll start working… how will they react if our solutions are not mobile or user experience driven? So let’s get back to our basics and observe employees in their daily work to understand their needs while keeping an eye on what’s coming next.

Cloud and future

How could the future Digital Workplace look like? A video on a day made of glass was shown during one of the plenary sessions to illustrate how the physical workplace we see today might be very different in the future (credit to the post from Martin White two years ago).

But probably the most forward looking session was conducted by David Lavenda on the Consolidated Digital Enterprise. Starting from the observation that we are increasingly moving towards a ‘disconnected’ Digital Workplace – many devices, many people, many cloud solutions – and wondering how long this could last, David listed the converging trends that might come to the rescue (e.g. interoperability standards, cloud ecosystem, meta search…). Delve, Microsoft’s recent addition to its Office 365 cloud solution, is probably going in this direction although it is still at a very early stage.

Are you also looking forward to the day when the universal inbox will arrive (i.e. all systems talking to each other)?

Overall, a very inspiring conference, you can see some other findings through my storify on KMWorld.


About ernstdecsey

Passionate about the digital workplace (defined as the sum of collaboration, social media and the Intranet). The postings on this site are my own.
This entry was posted in adoption, conference, Culture change, digital workplace, gen Y, innovation, intranet, user experience, ways of working, working out loud and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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